Part 1: How to Put the Top 18 2015 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Work for You Before Year End
Earlier this year, we compiled our gargantuan list of 2015 digital marketing predictions and trends as published by leaders in the industry. These included Vloggers and Gamification, to Augmented Reality and whether or not Businesses were questioning the benefits of Facebook. And while this periodic table covered digital marketing predictions, we realized that the common thread that tied the most successful trends together was content marketing. This drove us to capture some of the best practices in content marketing and compile a list of 2015 content marketing statistics.
We’ve taken a look at what we’ve seen, and 18 content marketing trends (and who knows how many tools and sources) spin their way to the top of list. These aren’t just based on what we’ve seen work for our clients, but also examples from mid-to-enterprise level content marketing programs. So, pull up your favorite Yogibo (we’ve got a room full of these), grab a cup of tea, and check out what’s working in B2B content marketing this year.
The first six focus on Video Marketing and Marketing Technology.
“Video has evolved to “the content of choice” as people are becoming more visually oriented and demanding digestible content to engage. Marketers must tap into this video trend and begin creating their own unique content that target audiences desire.”
Social Media Examiner’s “28 Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2015 From the Pros”
According to this data on video marketing stats and trends from this year:
- 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.
- 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with best ROI.
- Videos appear to be more prominent as they contain an eye-catching thumbnail image encouraging more clicks.
- 93% of marketers use video for online marketing, sales or communication.
We’ve seen this trend as well. Nearly every agency content marketing account we have has, or plans to leverage, video for marketing this year.
How can you use video for content marketing?
2015 B2B content marketing trends focus on solving problems, providing social proof, and educating buyers. You can use video to describe and simplify complex services and solutions, highlight customer success stories, or provide introductory (product agnostic) how-tos. One client saw a 300% lift in engagement with the introduction of video into their marketing mix.
“If you want your content to go viral fast and reach the masses in today’s content saturated landscape, you need to tap into video bloggers (vloggers)–and their reach of millions of followers.”
Social Media Today’s “Top 5 Social Media Predictions for 2015”
Even though Facebook overtook Google’s YouTube in total number of videos (partly due to Facebook’s autoplay feature), Google still has over a billion users. And with video rising to the top of the heap of consumed information (85% of online adults consider themselves YouTube visitors) and Facebook has 1.49B active users, user-generated video content is a marketer’s holy grail.
To this end, this year saw the introduction of two new major apps: Meerkat, and Twitter’s Periscope. Both are live streaming video apps, allowing users to stream live broadcasts, (vlogs), enabling real-time commenting and engagement, and providing retweeting of streams (both have tight Twitter integration). Why is this important? It signals a major shift in real-time live video engagement between customers and the companies that market and sell to them.
How can you leverage vlogging for content marketing?
It might not be obvious for some B2B organizations (like if you were the latest business supply chain insight and analytics provider). But what is vlogging? It’s another way to create shareable content.
One way you might use vlogging would be to have key sales people make a list of customer needs, challenges and desires, and use Periscope or Meerkat to create a live stream of industry-specific broadcasts. While you will probably build up a small and targeted niche, the true value will be in saving the streams and republishing them via YouTube, your website, or through some other social channel.
“Google continues to be the top search engine and, with the influx of people choosing to engage with video, it is expected to increase video ranking factors and return more in its results. Marketers will want to start building video into their content mix.”
Social Media Week’s “SEO Predictions for 2015”
Video has truly become the TV of this generation. Consider these statistics:
- 400 hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube every single minute, and on mobile, YouTube attracts more viewers aged 18-49 than any U.S. cable network.
- When watching online videos, 66% of Internet users in the U.S. say they are fully focused on the content, 27% say they are split between activities.
- 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching videos that explain a product or service and 58% of shoppers consider companies that produce video content to be more trustworthy.
How can you optimize your Video content so it’s found in search?
One key traditional SEO approach that still works for video is proper application of metadata for your videos. Metadata for YouTube videos includes:
- Your Video Title: If you’ve been following what’s going on for content marketing SEO in 2015, you’ll know that web-based SEO has changed dramatically, and metadata is less important than ever. While you have 100 characters to play with, anything longer than 50 – 60 could get truncated in search results. Always be sure that your title is compelling, and contains relevant keywords.
- Your Video Description: This is the snippet of text that shows up beneath the title, link and date the video was posted. Keep this to 130 or so words, as anything further will get cut off. This is your chance to write compelling copy, leveraging keywords and phrases that will be found in search, but also convince viewers to click further.
- Your Video Tags: ReelSEO notes that you have a 120 character limit for tags. For B2B lead generation, make sure that your keywords are specific, and duplicate and reinforce the keywords you’ve already leveraged in the other metadata.
Finally, check out this post by TrackMaven on 6 Best Practices for Optimizing Your YouTube Channel. I particularly found the peak YouTube Viewership data useful.
“Wearables go beyond watches, fitbits and uber-enabled usb drives. They have the potential to provide us with customer data like nothing that’s come before.
If you aren’t developing a wearable as part of your branding and marketing, the next best thing is to integrate wearable analytics into any mobile platforms you have. Barring that, you’ll want to partner with a company that has this technology—enabling you to develop micro-targeted campaigns for your customers.”
Statista’s “Wearable device market value” and WorkflowMax’s “Marketing Trends in 2015 Your Agency Needs to Know About”
- In 2014 the global retail revenue for the wearable devices market was $4.5 billion, it is expected to reach $53.2 billion in 2019.
- In a 2015 survey, Three out of four Millennials believe wearable technology is a new way consumer brands can engage with customers.
- The same survey noted half of consumers who owned or were going to buy wearable tech say they’d buy brands so they can send alerts and have more insights into their lifestyle.
How can you use wearable tech in B2B content marketing?
Right now, wearables are still in their early stage, but that’s changing quickly. According to Juniper Research wearable ad spend will jump from $1.5M this year to $68.7M in 3 years, assuming devices like the Apple Watch aren’t a complete flop.
While it’s still the wild west in wearables, one way B2B marketers could leverage wearables, would be to gather user generated data (all manner of location data is in play from mobile devices already). Use this data to identify user interests and challenges, and create content around it. I recently ghost wrote a blog post on stress related issues facing IT professionals in Data Centers. What if environmental and user data were captured, processed in the cloud, and real-time measures were taken to reduce the stress of the wearer? This company could then create content for stressed out admins, driving sales.
Internet of Things
“IoT is on our radar this year not for the devices—but for the consumer data those devices provide to us. Right now IoT devices discover each other and share data with each other, but the opportunity for marketers to add this data to their big data mix is unprecedented.
Look for new companies to emerge that focus entirely on mining IoT data and leveraging to build better marketing and brand experiences. In addition, the ability to provide real-time marketing and sales opportunity based on location, activity and action is becoming a reality. Identify opportunities for your customers to connect their devices and enhance their in-person and digital experiences. Beware though, privacy and security are major concerns in 2015, and transparency and openness will be critical.”
Bloomreach’s “The Internet of Things will change the face of marketing”, Forbes’ “A Simple Explanation Of ‘The Internet Of Things’ “ and Markets and Matters’ “Internet of Things Market and M2M Communication”
- 82% of companies will have IoT applications implemented into their business in some way by 2017.
- It’s expected that digital signage, driven by IoT will become a $27.5B industry in 2018, says IDC.
- According to the B2B News Network, “The Internet of Things has the potential to revolutionize marketing. It’s been estimated that there will be 75 billion connected devices, and 50 trillion gigabytes of data produced by those devices by 2020.”
How can you use Internet of Things for content marketing?
Imagine combining the current abundance of flat panel TVs at trade show booths in every industry, with wearable tech, and delivering customized content right in the moment, based on location and attendance. OR better yet, an event company could deliver a wearable app that connected to hot spots, allowing sponsors to identify key target prospects when they approach a booth, capture votes and input during a keynote, or drive marketing-rich social engagement. IoT not only serves as something to create content about, but it gives us a new way to distribute content.
“We can gather and store more consumer information nearly instantaneously, at a significantly reduced cost.
With our data in the cloud it becomes more accessible to us. Service provider applications and other cloud-based systems we employ are in a secure, centralized location with data recovery. 2015 will see us moving away from silo’ed data and more towards information sharing. In addition, with ‘everything being in the cloud’ we have unprecedented opportunities to develop new products and services—and market those—to our customers. How can you take your legacy service or product, and ‘put it in the cloud’?”
- 90% of businesses have adopted the cloud in some capacity.
- 89% of business leaders believe big data will revolutionize business operations in the same way the Internet did.
- 60% of SaaS applications will leverage new function-driven, micro-priced IaaS capabilities by 2018, adding innovation to a “commodity” service.
How can you use the Cloud for Content Marketing?
I really didn’t delve into the elephant in the room that is Cloud-based Marketing Automation. And I won’t. That’s been covered ad nauseam and is really at the tip of most marketers’ tongues, so including marketing automation as one of 2015’s content marketing trends didn’t make sense.
What I do want to reference is one of our key roles as marketers: helping deliver products and services that our customers want and need. How do you leverage the cloud? Put, or make, your next product in the cloud. Whether it’s a smart back up solution, or the next business card killer, it needs to be cloud-based, or it’s already dated.
To use the cloud for content marketing, you need to leverage it to deliver content to the right person at the right time. By keeping content in the cloud (instead of locking it in documents on your computer or network) you can leverage it anytime, anywhere, for any relevant need that might arise. Let’s say that you’re supporting your sales team with materials for a critical sale. They’re in London on a pitch and you’re on the East Coast here in the States. If your brochures, case studies, and even your contract are locked up in a machine somewhere in corporate headquarters, and your sales team needs to make a few changes to seal the deal… you’re in trouble. But if your content is served up in the cloud, then they can access it on any device, make changes, and win—in the moment (shameless plug—we’re developing a system of marketing materials just like this for a Fortune 100 brand and their channel partners). Do this for your sales team and trust me, you’ll be a hero.
While Video and Technology weren’t quite the heroes of content marketing in 2015, they definitely have contributed to a wild and growing marketing space, and bring a lot to the table. Our next post will include Social Content, Increased Budgets, Personas, and more.